3 Types of Soulwork That Instantly Free You of Fear, Guilt and Resentment

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3 Types of Soulwork

Without dedicating ourselves to discovering the voice of the soul, so many of us are lost in life. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep we are bombarded with a constant stimulation of the senses. This leaves us in an almost schizophrenic state where we confuse our thoughts with reality. Some […]

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Need To Talk To Someone? 10 Qualities Of A Caring Confidant

source : http://liveboldandbloom.com/07/health/need-talk-someone

I have never been someone who can keep my problems to myself or deal with them quietly and stoically.

If something is going on in my life that’s difficult or painful, I have to talk about it with someone. Talking about it helps me to process the situation, and it relieves the tension and anxiety that comes with ruminating.

I’m not always looking for a solution from the other person. Sometimes I just need a listening ear so I can unpack all of the emotions and gain more clarity about the problem.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to discover that not everyone is a good confidant. There are some people in my life with whom I can share the most private and painful feelings without concern. But there are others who are not empathic, trustworthy listeners.

Not everyone feels as comfortable as I do sharing their innermost feelings and painful challenges. They keep things inside and try to manage their problems and emotions alone.

This reticence might be part of their personality, or maybe they were taught as children not to “burden” others with problems and feelings. Some people keep things to themselves because they fear others might judge them or look down on them.

Or maybe, like me, they’ve bumped into people who did not treat their confidences with dignity and respect. Maybe they were even betrayed by someone they thought was a friend.

Whatever the reason, there are those who find it daunting to open up and talk about their problems with another person, even as they are suffering in silence with the anguish of their situation. Maybe this is how you feel.

Stuffing your feelings and trying to manage your problems alone is not a healthy way to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Even if it feels uncomfortable or “weak,” talking to someone about your problems has many emotional and health benefits:

  • It can improve your mood and help prevent stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • It helps you find solutions and deal with challenges as you articulate the emotions and challenges.
  • You feel less alone and isolated with your problem when you share it with some.
  • If you are already depressed, you heal more quickly. Studies show that people with good social support get over depression faster and experience less severe symptoms.
  • When our perceptions are clouded by painful emotions, other people can help us see things more clearly and rationally.
  • Expressing emotions helps reduce the chances of acquiring stress-related health problems like muscle aches and tension headaches.

It’s clear that sharing your problems and feelings helps you cope and reduces the burden of bearing them alone. The key is finding the right person or people to listen and support you.

Do you need to talk to someone? Here are 10 qualities to look for in a caring confidant:

1. Active Listener

A good confidant is someone who not only listens but who makes you feel heard.

They pay full attention when you are sharing your feelings and show that they are listening with eye contact, nodding, affirmative words, and affection.

An active listener doesn’t need to offer advice (unless it’s ask for) or deflect the conversation to their own problems. They are fully present for you and willing to validate the pain or discomfort you are feeling.

2. Empathetic

The best kind of support person not only sympathizes with what you’re going through but also feels what you are feeling. They empathize with your confusion, pain, or self-doubt, and they want you to know how much they understand you.

They have walked the walk and can share some of the burden of your feelings because they have experienced something similar themselves.

An empathetic listener allows you to feel less alone with your challenge and helps you realize that you will survice this challenge and move past it.

3. Trustworthy

The last thing you need when you’re going through a challenge is someone who gossips about you or betrays your confidence.

You want a support person who treats your pain or difficulty with dignity and respect. They are capable of keeping their mouths shut, even when it’s tempting to share a juicy piece of information or unburden themselves of your problem.

They have the integrity to honor your personal information by keeping it to themselves, even when you haven’t specifically asked them too.

4. Nonjudgmental

It’s difficult to share something deeply personal, perhaps something that causes you guilt, shame, or regret, if you fear the listener will judge you harshly.

You need a support person who can listen and show empathy without casting blame, acting superior, or passively making you feel bad about yourself or the situation.

The best confidant is someone who recognizes the “humanness” in all of us — who has made mistakes themselves and understands the deep need to be loved and accepted in spite of our flaws.

5. Authentic

A caring support person is someone who is true to themselves, who doesn’t put on an act or try to play a role that feels false.

They can be vulnerable and open about their own challenges, emotions, and fears, making you feel more connected to them.

Authenticity is hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it. The person is open, straightforward, and without guise or pretense.

6. Self-Aware

A big part of authenticity is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to have introspection and to examine your own motives, desires, flaws, and responses.

A self-aware person has a better capacity to understand and empathize with others because they have plunged the depths of their own inner world.

They have a more intricate and complex perspective of the human condition and can therefore understand and relate to ambiguities, complicated emotions, and difficult decisions.

7. Calm

When you are going through a difficult time, you don’t need someone who will fall apart, get hysterical, or behave dramatically.

You’re already feeling highly emotional or even ready to fall apart yourself. You need a steady hand and a calm disposition to keep you grounded and rational so you can think about solutions to your situation.

The best support person is the one who can remain unperturbed and focused in order to help you take the best actions.

8. Perceptive

Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees when you’re in the midst of a challenge. Your emotions might cloud your judgment, or they might make it difficult for you to take action at all.

A good support person can look at the situation objectively, see what you aren’t able to see, and kindly point out alternative points of view or a better course of action.

They can see through the fog of fear and confusion you’re feeling to get to the meat of the situation and help you clarify it.

9. Patient

Most life challenges take some time to sort through. When you have strong emotions, it can take hours or days just to settle your feelings in order to really address the problem.

You need a confidant who is patient with you, even if you get stuck or angry. Sometimes you just need them to sit with you and listen as you vent the depths of your despair or frustration.

It’s not always easy for a support person to patiently listen without offering solutions or telling you to “just get over it.” But this patience pays off because it gives you the space you need to process your feelings and figure out your next steps at a pace that is right for you.

10. Optimistic

When we’re going through a challenge, we all want to feel hope. We want to believe that things will work out for the best and that something positive will emerge from the difficulty we’re experiencing.

Having someone in your corner who sees the glass half full and who has the clarity to recognize that “this too shall pass” will give you the strength and courage to keep going.

A happy, positive person (who isn’t offering false cheerfulness or unrealistic outcomes) will buoy you as you work toward solutions and heal from your pain.


If you are going through a life challenge and need someone to talk to, don’t go it alone. Look around at your family and friends. Which of them have most of the qualities listed above?

Reach out to this person and ask if they are willing to provide a listening ear to help you cope with your challenge. If they are empathic and caring, they will likely be flattered that you reached out to them.

If you can’t find someone in your circle you can to talk to, consider finding a licensed counselor who has these qualities. They are legally bound by confidentiality, and a good therapist has been trained to develop these interpersonal skills.

 

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How To Start Over and Unleash The Phoenix Inside

source : http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/07/07/how-to-start-over-and-unleash-the-phoenix-inside/

It can be hard to admit when you need a fresh start to create your own opportunities. You’ve put time and energy into getting exactly where you are, but almost everyone eventually hits a point where they realize, “Man, this just isn’t working out.”

Starting over might be the most intimidating concept you can face, but it doesn’t have to be a painful process. If you keep your focus on what it can bring you — boundless opportunities, the freedom to create the life you dream of, and a sense of validation from newfound success — then this intimidating next step can actually become an incredible experience.

If you’ve begun to think it’s time for a fresh start in any, or all, aspects of your life, then rest assured that you have a lot to look forward to. Like a brand new hairstyle, the nerves that you wrestle with before the first cut eventually will give way to a newfound sense of identity as you see your new image form in front of your eyes.

So instead of continuing to struggle with a dead-end path, why not take steps toward creating your own opportunities?

5 Fresh Steps To Take

  1. Build up a savings account by taking on additional side work and cutting expenses wherever you can.
  2. Seek out new opportunities by reaching out to the experts in an industry you admire. Even if it’s just a general email or on Facebook, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to contact these pros.
  3. If their advice is good and they seem open to helping someone new, approach them about a mentorship. At the very least, they’ll be flattered by the request.
  4. Start building out the basics of a project that you’d like to run on your own.
  5. Get a good idea of what you need to make that project happen, and make sure you take one concrete step toward that every day.

Be serious and thorough when you’re planning out the steps required to make your fresh start. If you really understand what you need in terms of time, budget, training, or additional help, then you should be able to mark a calendar for the day that you can finally pull the trigger and switch to full gear on your new direction.

And until that point, you should know exactly what you need to accomplish each and every day to make sure that goal isn’t delayed an inch. This will keep you motivated, but will also provide opportunities for you to rejoice every time you hit a milestone and every day you cross off the calendar.

Birth Of A Phoenix

The thought of creating your own opportunities is the birth of many entrepreneurs — a siren call to create the opportunity you wish was already there in the world. This is how Nathan Chan found his strengths.

After deciding that what he really wanted to do was become a marketer, he created his own opportunity by founding his own magazine and began reaching out to experts who were achieving their dreams. By distilling the best secrets and tips they had found themselves, and sharing those with his audience, he grew a dedicated following with tremendous potential.

The makings of greatness are not necessarily in natural skill — often it’s the dedication and resourcefulness of being able to find the solutions and expertise that you need most at any given time that allow you to create your own opportunities in life.

Tune in to listen to the expert on appealing to experts, Nathan Chan, discuss with Marc Angelo the merits of social entrepreneurism, being your own biggest backer, and utilizing untapped resources.

It doesn’t take much to begin forming a new path for yourself, and though the obstacles ahead may seem like a lot to handle, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the mountains move out of your way. If you’re truly passionate about your new goal, there shouldn’t be any reason you can’t get started today.

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110 Of The Best Self-Improvement Books You’ll Ever Read

source : http://liveboldandbloom.com/06/self-improvement/best-self-help-books

If you’re a self-improvement junkie like I am, you’re always looking for something inspiring and motivational to read.

Over the years, I’ve read hundreds of self-improvement books and have written a dozen or so myself. Some of the most profound “aha” insights in my life have come as a result of what I’ve learned from these amazing books.

I firmly believe you should never stop learning and growing as a person. In fact, I like to challenge my own beliefs and assumptions and read the ideas and perspectives of others in order to stretch myself.

One thing I’ve learned as a personal coach is how every element of our lives impacts the rest of our lives. You can’t change one area without it impacting everything else.

That’s why it’s important to grow and learn in all areas of your life — from your relationships to emotional well-being. With that in mind, I’ve shared some books in a variety of categories that are important to our overall happiness, peace of mind, and balance.

Here are 110 of the best self-help books that can change your life for the better:

Confidence and Self-Esteem

1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown

2. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, by Kamal Ravikant

3. Self-Esteem: A proven program of cognitive techniques for assessing, improving and maintaining your self-esteem, by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning

4. Building Confidence: Get Motivated, Overcome Social Fear, Be Assertive, and Empower Your Life For Success., by Barrie Davenport

5. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Knowby Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

6. The 21-Day Self-Confidence Challenge: An easy and step-by-step approach to overcome self-doubt & low self-esteem, by Ingrid Lindberg

7. Own Your Self: Master Your Character, Rise To Any Challenge, Find True Inner Peaceby Cary Hokama

8. Confidence Hacks: 99 Small Actions to Massively Boost Your Confidence, by Barrie Davenport

9. Confident You: An Introvert’s Guide to Success in Life and Business, by Steve Scott and Rebecca Livermore

10. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristen Neff

Happiness

11. Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skillby Matthieu Ricard and Daniel Goleman

12. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, by Dan Harris

13. The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Wantby Sonja Lyubomirsky

14. Habits Of A Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levelsby Loretta Graziano Breuning

15. The Art of Happiness in a Troubled Worldby Howard Cutler M.D. and Dalai Lama

16. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillmentby Martin E. P. Seligman

17. Finely Tuned: How To Thrive As A Highly Sensitive Person or Empath, by Barrie Davenport

18. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-beingby Martin E. P. Seligman

19. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinkingby Oliver Burkeman

20. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the Worldby Eric Weiner

Life Passion and Purpose

21. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, by by Ken Robinson Ph.D. and Lou Aronica

22. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Lifeby Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

23. Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion, by Gregg Levoy

24. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get Itby Barbara Sher and Barbara Smith

25. The 52-Week Life Passion Project: Uncover Your Life Passion, by Barrie Davenport

26. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Typeby Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron

27. The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purposeby Janet Attwood

28. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle

29. The Life You Were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose, by Dan Millman

30. Unplug: 26 People Share How They Recharge and Reconnect to Passion, Presence, and Purposeby Deb Ozarko

Simplifying and Simplicity

31. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, by Joshua Becker

32. The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Lifeby Francine Jay

33. 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home, by Barrie Davenport and Steve Scott

34. 10-Minute Digital Declutter: The Simple Habit to Eliminate Technology Overload, by Barrie Davenport and Steve Scott

35. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingby Marie Kondo

36. The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hyggeby Pia Edberg

37. Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Lifeby Rachel Jonat

38. The Simple Living Guideby Janet Luhrs

39. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Lessby Greg Mckeown

40. The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Changeby Annie Leonard

Mindfulness

41. Peace of Mindfulness: Everyday Rituals to Conquer Anxiety and Claim Unlimited Inner Peace, by Barrie Davenport

42. Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

43. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

44. You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Melvin McLeod

45. Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratana

46. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle

47. A Guide to The Present Moment, by Noah Elkrief

48. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourselfby Michael A. Singer

49. Meditation: How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, by Pema Chodron

50. Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World, by Emily P. Freeman

Overcoming Stress and Anxiety

51. The Healing Power of the Breath: Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions, by Brown, Richard, MD and Gerbarg, Patricia, MD

52. Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast (+Bonus Audios), by Barry McDonagh

53. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Edmund Bourne PhD

54. The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Take Charge of Your Emotions–Today, by Julia Ross

55. Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, by Judith Orloff

56. When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life, by David D. Burns MD

57. Healing Anxiety and Depression, by Daniel G. Amen and Lisa C. Routh

58. Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety and Shyness Ultimate Guide: Techniques to Overcome Stress, Achieve Self Esteem and Succeed as an Introvert, by Lisa Kimberly

59. Color Me Stress-Free: Nearly 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind (A Zen Coloring Book) by Lacy Mucklow, by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter

60. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh

Healthy Relationships

61. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition, by Harville Hendrix

62. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, by Dr. Sue Johnson

63. 201 Relationship Questions: The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy, by Barrie Davenport

64. The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine Aron

65. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman

66. The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, by Ty Tashiro

67. How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, by David Richo and Kathlyn Hendricks

68. Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft

69. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, by John Gottman and Nan Silver

70. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are , by Marko Petkovic

Developing Good Habits

71. Sticky Habits: 6 Simple Steps to Create Good Habits Stick, by Barrie Davenport

72. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg

73. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck

74. Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less, by Steve Scott

75. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise

76. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

77. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems, by Daniel G. Md Amen

78. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.

79. The 21-Day Weight Loss Challenge: a deep and no BS step-by-step approach to transforming your lifestyle and get you healthy, happy & in shape, by Ingrid Lindberg

80. 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life, Steve Scott

Motivation and Productivity

81. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink

82. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, by Ryan Holiday

83. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert

84. Self-Discovery Questions:: 155 Breakthrough Questions to Accelerate Massive Action, By Barrie Davenport

85. Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration, by by Meera Lee Patel

86. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), by Hal Elrod

87. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Neil Fiore

88. Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System, by Leo Babauta

89. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

90. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process, by Thomas M. Sterner

Overcoming Challenges

91. The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing, by Beverly Engel

92. Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, by Francine Shapiro

93. Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You, by Susan J. Elliott

94. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief, by Martha W. Hickman

95. Coping with Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in Their Lives at Home and at Work, by Robert M. Bramson Phd

96. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh

97. How to Survive the Loss of a Love, by Peter McWilliams and Harold H. Bloomfield

98. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron

99. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl

100. Rising Strong, by Brene Brown

Health and Wellness

101. Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge

102. Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge

103. Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing, by Eric Langshur and Nate Klemp

104. The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, by Dan Buettner

105. Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples, by John Robbins

106. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves and Patrick Lencioni

107. The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman, by Tim Ferriss

108. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall

109. The Yoga Bible, by Christina Brown

110. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Do you have a favorite self-improvement book that isn’t listed here? Please add it to the comments.

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The Greatest Unsolved Mystery—Evolution

source : http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DrJoeDispenzasBlog/~3/VAmg5HFpDIo/

Human evolution is perhaps one of the most fascinating unsolved mysteries there is. While it’s a scientific fact that we did not evolve from Neanderthal but coexisted with them, something seismic and unexplainable occurred in our evolution somewhere between 250,000 – 300,000 years ago.

As animals and species evolved, their brain mass enlarged at the same ratio as their lungs, liver, stomach, and the rest of their physical structure. Most mammals reached the height of their evolution in brain complexity and mass around 250,000 years ago. Early humans should have developed and plateaued at the same rate as other animals during the period, yet something extraordinary happened; the human neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher functioning such as sensory perception, motor skills, learning, reasoning, awareness, creativity, and conscious thought, underwent an enormous leap in overall mass and complexity within a short amount of time.

This sudden acceleration in the volume and density of brain mass appears to have occurred spontaneously and unexplainably, as opposed to the normal, linear course of evolution. What caused this explosive brain development, which gave us a neocortex so much larger and denser than that of any other species? Why did the brain expand to such a great degree, while the size of the head, both generally and in relation to the growth of the rest of the body, not keep pace?

The overall volume of the human skull did enlarge to some degree but not proportionally, the way animal evolution would predict. Scientists believe that if the human head had grown at the same rate of increase as the brain, the female pelvis could not have accommodated an infant’s enlarged head circumference during birth.

Even today, the human birthing process remains risky and difficult due to fetal head size. Back then, an increase in fetal head size without an increase in pelvic size would have accelerated infant and maternal mortality, and humans would have been eliminated as a species. One possible solution that Mother Nature rejected was merely to increase the size of the female pelvis to allow a larger fetal head circumference. We can only imagine what shape females would have evolved into had there been this increase in the size of the head. With such an increase in pelvic capacity, this probably would have forced early female humans back on four legs.

Nature’s solution to the need for a larger brain without a corresponding increase in skull size was simple and elegant. The brain folded in on itself so that about 98 percent of the neocortex is hidden within the folds. Just as a Japanese fan when folded hides its floral patterns beneath the surface, the new, enfolded brain hides most of its gray matter and material. This design, which greatly resembles a walnut, is an efficient way to pack more material into a smaller space.

The brain’s folding in on itself was an adaptation that gave early humans crucial advantages over other species in their environment. By increasing the potential for early humans to grow in intelligence and in their ability to learn—without compromising the body in other ways—brain folding gave us an evolutionary edge that improved our species’ chances for survival. Brain folding and the evolution of the new brain also gave humankind a potential for mental growth that we have barely tapped, even today.

Present-day humans still have almost the same proportional brain mass as we did 250,000 to 300,000 years ago. Once we became a new species of humans with an enlarged new brain, we were no longer limited to traveling the long, linear evolutionary road that the rest of the planet’s creatures had to follow. Clearly, however, our species as a whole is not using the full capacity of the new brain.

Perhaps we haven’t been told the whole story of our evolution or we just haven’t uncovered it yet, but Mother Nature has been so methodical with every other species in the story of evolution that one can’t help but wonder. What do you think caused this giant leap in evolution? We just might have to use that extra 20% of our brain capacity to figure it out.

 

Photo by LuciaJoy

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